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. it was believed they forged a partnership, but jon karl is in washington, and the speaker fired off a letter just before we came on the air tonight? >> reporter: that's right. the speaker and the president were on the verge of an historic deal that would have cut spending by $3.5 trillion, dealt with the debt crisis and raised that debt ceiling. now, the speaker has fired off this letter to all the members of the house, saying the deal, the talks are over. he says it has become evident that the white house is simply not serious about ending the spending binge. in the end, the speaker writes, we could not connect. i'm told this broke down over a disagreement over how much to raise tax revenues. >> and jon, you know it wasn't long after we learned that this letter was coming that the president said he was going to fire back then, too. here's what the president just said, we'll get your reaction herere >> we have run out of time and they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. and they can come up with any plans s at they want and bring them up here and we wi
to business to break the impasse. abc's senior political correspondent, jon karl, has been on this story every step of the way. and he leads us off, once again, tonight. jon, good evening to you. >> reporter: good evening, dan. well, the house and the senate have spent the last 24 hours on a series of showboats on bills that have no chance of passing. but republican leaders say they're fully engaged with the white house. and have spoken with the president this afternoon to try to find a way to break the impasse. finally, signs of progress.. >> i'm confident and optimistic that we're going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis. >> in spite of our differences, we're dealing with reasonable, responsible people, who want this crisis to end as quickly as possible. and i'm confident we will. >> reporter: you wouldn't know it by looking at what congress is actually doing. >> the american people are looking for a real solution. >> reporter: the house spent the day voting down the bill offered by senate democrats, even though the senate hadn't passed it yet. >> there is ab
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